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Proper brushing is the foundation of good oral hygiene, but while most of us have the best intentions, 9 out of 10 adults still develop cavities at some point in their lives. And though the American Dental Association (ADA) asserts that electric and manual toothbrushes are equally effective at cleaning teeth when used properly, the problem is that many of us don’t use manual toothbrushes as intended.
Think about it. When’s the last time you brushed for a full two minutes? Or held your toothbrush at the exact proper angle? Electric toothbrushes largely remove the issue of human error when it comes to dental health. They oscillate much faster than our hands can manage, provide better coverage, remove more plaque and are easier for people with arthritis or other hand weaknesses.
If your dentist has recommended an electric toothbrush or you’ve just decided to give one a try, check out our top picks for the best electric toothbrushes of 2019. Then read on to find our buying guide that’s filled with everything you need to know when choosing the perfect electric toothbrush.
The Philips Sonicare FlexCare+ is a top-performing electric toothbrush with all the features you want and none of the ones you don’t. As the name implies, it’s a sonic toothbrush, meaning the head vibrates rather than oscillating. The FlexCare+ vibrates at an impressive 31,000 brush strokes per minute. The speed increases fluid inside the mouth, which contributes to bacteria removal.
A built-in timer ensures you brush for the recommended two minutes, and quad intervals indicate when it’s time to switch to the next quadrant. The toothbrush also has five modes, including Clean, for everyday use; Sensitive, for gentle gum cleaning; Refresh, for a quick, one-minute clean; Massage, for gum stimulation; and Gum Care, that includes an extra minute of gum brushing. The FlexCare+ is rechargeable and can last up to three weeks on a single charge, so it’s also perfect for travel.
While the Rembrandt Sonic Teeth Toothbrush doesn’t have quite as many bells and whistles as our top pick, it’s still a high-quality electric toothbrush that will leave your teeth feeling sparkling clean. This is another sonic toothbrush, so it vibrates at very high speeds to brush away plaque and bacteria. In fact, Rembrandt asserts that it’s seven times better at removing plaque than a manual toothbrush.
The relatively large brush heads cover more surface area and has diamond-shaped bristles to effectively polish away stains. Color-fading bristles will also let you know when the heads need replacing. The toothbrush has three different modes—Daily, Max and Gentle—depending on your needs. It also has a two-minute timer with quad intervals. The toothbrush comes with a charging base and can go about 15 to 20 days between charges.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line electric toothbrush, look no further than the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean. This toothbrush has it all. Using sonic technology, the DiamondClean vibrates at 31,000 brush strokes per minute, and is meant to remove 10 times more plaque than a manual toothbrush. It comes with two different brush heads: DiamondClean with diamond-shaped bristles and a stain removable pad for whitening and AdaptiveClean for plaque removal.
The DiamondClean has five different brush modes, including Clean for everyday use, White to remove surface stains, Sensitive for gentle cleaning, Gum Care to massage gums and Deep Clean, which includes three minutes of brushing and a unique brush head motion. This sleek toothbrush comes in four colors and a unique charging glass that can be used for rinsing. It lasts for three weeks on a single charge and also comes with a USB charging travel case.
An electric toothbrush doesn’t need to break the bank in order to work well. The Oral-B Pro 1000 is a no-frills electric toothbrush, but it works well and is one of the highest-rated toothbrushes on the market. It’s an oscillating toothbrush, meaning it’s head spins to clean teeth. It cleans with 8,800 rotations per minute and 20,000 pulses. It might not be as fast as other models, but it’s still powerful, and the lower speed makes is a great fit for those with sensitive teeth.
The Pro 1000 comes with one CrossAction brush head, but it’s compatible with nine different Oral-B brush heads. It has a two-minute timer with quad-pacer and also includes a pressure sensor, so it will stop rotating if you press too hard. The toothbrush is rechargeable and lasts up to seven days on a single charge.
There’s a great deal of variety when it comes to electric toothbrushes, and it can be difficult to sift through the marketing claims to find the best one. We’ll take the guesswork out of choosing the best electric toothbrush by outlining top considerations, including customization, teeth sensitivity, power source, cost and warranty/return policy.
From the most basic electric toothbrush to the one that integrates with your phone, there are features to meet everyone’s needs and preferences. Think about your needs and your budget. If you’re the type of person who needs help brushing your teeth correctly, you might need to make more of an investment. If you’ve got the technique down, you can probably save a little money and choose a no-frills model.
Common electric toothbrush features include:
People with sensitive teeth have to be extra careful when choosing the correct toothbrush, so each brushing session doesn’t end in pain. Oscillating toothbrushes are typically a better pick than sonic toothbrushes because they have slower movements. The quick pace of sonic toothbrushes can sometimes be irritating to those with sensitive teeth.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the brush head, specifically the bristles. The ADA recommends soft bristles for all types of teeth, but especially for people with sensitive teeth.
Brushing pressure is also important for sensitive teeth. Look for a toothbrush with a pressure sensor to let you know if you’re pressing too hard. Some will vibrate, stop moving or light up to less you know to ease off. A toothbrush with a phone app might also be helpful in tracking your brushing progress to see why your teeth might be more sensitive at some times than others.
Electric toothbrushes typically get their power one of two ways: batteries or a charging station that plugs into the wall. Both types tend to work equally well, and the type you choose depends on your preference. Battery-powered toothbrushes tend to be more portable, but you do have to remember to change the batteries.
Toothbrushes with charging stations don’t need to be plugged in all the time, but it’s important to find out how long the toothbrush can last on a single charge. Times typically vary between one and three weeks.
Electric toothbrushes come in a wide range of prices depending on the features they include. Think about your budget and your needs before running out to buy one. It’s quite possible to get an electric toothbrush for under $100. Most include basic features, like a timer, and probably come with at least one replacement brush head. If you’re looking for a toothbrush that cleans well but don’t need additional features, stick with something in the $50 to $100 range.
If you’ve had trouble brushing your teeth properly in the past, or simply like the idea of more customization, you may be looking to spend between $100 and $250. Variable brush modes tend to drive up the cost, and bluetooth capability is somewhat pricey. More expensive brushes may come with added accessories that justify their higher cost, including extra brush heads or travel chargers. Be sure to investigate the features that matter most to you and determine which are necessary and which are just nice to have. And remember that regardless of price, most electric toothbrushes last about 3 to 5 years.
Especially if you’re investing in an electric toothbrush with a hefty price tag, you’ll want to ensure your purchase is protected. Most toothbrushes come with a 2-year limited warranty. That generally means that manufacturing defects are covered under the warranty, but damage from regular use is not. Make sure you inspect your toothbrush when you first get it so no issues slip through the cracks.
It’s also important to make sure the toothbrush you purchase has a return policy. Many can be returned within a 30-day window, but be sure to check and see if there are any restrictions. Some companies also offer some sort of money-back guarantee with longer windows, but it may be difficult to take advantage of these. Either way, keep your receipt until you know you’re fully satisfied.
Most of us brush our teeth before bed, but we don’t often think about the connection between oral health and sleep. The truth is, several studies have shown that oral hygiene plays a significant role in sleep health. In fact, one study found that subjects who reported poor dental health had increased sleep disturbances. But why?
Perhaps the most obvious way that oral hygiene and sleep are connected is that those of us who take care of our teeth also tend to take care of ourselves in other ways. Put differently, if we have a routine and take the time to brush and floss our teeth before bed, it’s probably because we’re going to bed at a reasonable hour. If you’re constantly working late into the night before collapsing into bed, you’re probably not brushing your teeth as well as you should, if at all.
Poor oral hygiene can also lead to issues that will keep you up at night. Pain related to cavities may keep you tossing and turning. If you haven’t sought treatment for sensitive teeth, you may experience headaches that make it difficult to fall asleep. Poor oral hygiene can also lead to periodontal disease, or gum disease, which has been known to raise blood sugar. Blood sugar that isn’t controlled will disrupt sleep.
And finally, there are conditions that can negatively affect both dental health and sleep health. Teeth grinding and clenching, if left unchecked, can lead to tooth damage and restless sleep.